Good morning. Sajid Javid has endorsed Liz Truss as the next Conservative Party leader in a damaging blow to Rishi Sunak’s campaign, claiming that Truss is “best placed to unite the party” at a time when the Tories have “been in not a very good place”.
Javid told LBC this morning:
We need to fix things and to get a new leader in place as quickly as possible. But most importantly, that leader needs to be the right person to deal with the challenges that we have.
He said he had “huge respect” for both Truss and Sunak, who he described as both “incredibly capable and talented”. He added:
Like all Conservative party members, I have to make a choice. My choice is Truss. The reason I’ve made that decision is for three reasons: I think she’s best placed to unite the party and she’s already showing that with the broad support that she’s getting from MPs.
I think she’s got a better plan for fixing the economy. I think that is going to be absolutely crucial.
And thirdly, I think that she’s best placed to beat the labour Lib Dems and the SNP at the next election.
Javid’s endorsement of Truss came last night after a difficult day for Sunak, after a poll from the Conservatives put the foreign secretary 32 points ahead with party members, a day after YouGov showed similar results.
Javid, who worked with Sunak in the Treasury and resigned on the same day, triggering the downfall of Boris Johnson, said Truss was best placed to “reunite the party” and said a new approach to the economy was needed – a direct attack on Sunak.
In an article for the Times, Javid wrote:
I fought for strong fiscal rules in our last manifesto. But the circumstances we are in require a new approach. Over the long term, we are more likely to be fiscally sustainable by improving trend growth.
Only by getting growth back to pre-financial crisis levels can we hope to support the high-quality public services people rightly expect.
Sunak and Javid were once considered close allies though came into conflict once Javid returned to the cabinet and clashed over health spending.
Javid’s article directly challenged Sunak’s claim that tax cuts would be inflationary.
Some claim that tax cuts can only come once we have growth. I believe the exact opposite – tax cuts are a prerequisite for growth.
Speaking on Times Radio this morning, Javid rejected criticism of Truss’s policies – warning it would be “riskier” not to cut taxes. There was “no risk-free option” and any leader her to come to terms with this, he said.
Fixing the economy is absolutely central, not just to deal with the cost-of-living challenges but to pay for all the public services, in the long-term, that we all rely on.
I think the only way we can do that is to improve our long-term growth rate. We need to get it back to where we were pre-financial crisis, we’re a long way off.
To do that, it can’t be business as usual and it does mean, when it comes to our fiscal position – balancing the books and things – we’ve got to take a long-term view.
Here’s the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Office for National Statistics publishes earnings gaps for free school meals recipients in England.
12pm: Bank of England interest rate decision.
8pm: Sky Tory leadership debate with Sunak and Liz Truss.